Louis Vuitton reimagines its iconic Tambour watch

Louis Vuitton reimagines its iconic Tambour watch

Mooning for more

Text: Celine Yap

The new Tambour Moon collection encompasses haute horlogerie, creative and useful functions, as well as trendy everyday timepieces

It's been 15 years since Louis Vuitton introduced the Tambour. This watch with a drum-shaped case set the aesthetical code for the maison and was suitable for both men and women. From the mini to the extra-large, the Tambour could be given anything — a simple quartz movement or an extravagant in-house complication — and it would continue to radiate its unique brand of style and nonchalance.

The Tambour Moon is the next step of evolution for the Tambour. Where the original Tambour was inspired by a drum, the Tambour Moon was inspired by — you guessed it — the moon. More specifically, it was the crescent moon that lent its shape to this new case, which has polished concave sides. Other elements that have come to define the Tambour, like the applied horns and 12 letters of Louis Vuitton engraved on the edge, have been dearly preserved. The result is an updated Tambour that's fresher and more refined.

Louis Vuitton Tambour Moon

Says CEO of Louis Vuitton Timepieces, Hamdi Chatti, "We need design that matches the spirit of today. Having said that we have big respect for the tradition for the craft and always make sure how we do our contemporary design is produced of the highest quality and highest craft."

Louis Vuitton Tambour Moon

He continues, "One of the things we do is make sure it's very comfortable on the wrist. We don't do huge watches that are heavy. We do watches that are easy to wear, easy to read, and with a cool design."

For men as well as women, this watch holds true to the codes of Louis Vuitton. In the Tambour Moon Star for women, a metallic pink gold Monogram Flower rotates within the small seconds sub-dial, while the Tambour Moon GMT is decorated with a rice grain pattern that recalls the weave of the Damier Graphite fabric.

All watches in this line come with a patented component made of a composite material that allows the wearer to change the strap of the watch quickly and easily. Now there are over 30 different straps from Damier to Monogram canvas, alligator and new leathers sourced from Louis Vuitton's eminent leather goods division, and there is much more to come. What a fantastic way to include the client in the design process.

But the pièce de résistance is undoubtedly the Tambour Moon Poinçon de Genève, and it sits right at the top of the haute horlogerie pecking order alongside other high complication models like the Spin Time Tourbillon, the Escale World Timer and the Tambour Minute Repeater. This is an amazing achievement for Louis Vuitton, as the Poinçon de Genève (also known as the Geneva Seal) is the highest accolade a Geneva-based watch company can achieve. It certifies that a timepiece is perfectly finished inside as well as outside, and is regulated to a high level of precision. The Seal is a symbol of excellence and it can be seen engraved on the central bridge of the movement.

"The Poinçon de Genève is a great example of how we go further with design, establishing new codes that are modern and contemporary yet with full respect of tradition and craftsmanship. This is one of the strengths of Vuitton and it's not just because our watch activity started only 15 years ago. Look at our Asnières atelier. We can design amazing contemporary trunks today even though we have 150 years of history doing that. We dare to do things," Chatti elaborates.

Louis Vuitton Tambour Moon

Cased in platinum, the movement Calibre LV 97 is completely exposed through sapphire crystal on the front and back. There is a tangible sense of weightlessness and transparency coming from its design, which is completely intentional. Its stunning architecture consists of three circular structures aligned vertically, where the gilt barrel has been relief engraved with the Louis Vuitton insignia and the tourbillon carriage crafted in the style of the Monogram Flower.

On the confluence of modernity and tradition in his watches, Chatti explains, "[The Geneval Seal] is an instant pedigree. Our clients expect us to go in that direction but they don't expect us to do a completely traditional watch. When you buy something like this, you're a collector. When you're a collector, you buy different brands. Clients come to us because we don't do things like others. They come to us for this reason."

The Tambour Moon collection will launch in-store at Louis Vuitton boutiques in July.